Q: Can I use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour in cakes, pies and other baking?
A: You can use bread flour for other recipes, but you might notice a difference in results, particularly in toughness. Flour types vary in how much protein they contain. Protein is part of what causes the development of gluten. Gluten is a part of what gives structure to baked goods. When you see the holes in baked goods -- tiny ones in cakes, big ones in bread -- that is because gluten creates a structure that can puff up when bread is baked or when yeast in the dough emits gas.
For bread, you want structure to hold it up as it rises. Bread flour is higher in protein and will develop more gluten. For cake, you want a medium level of protein, so you use an all-purpose flour.
For pie crusts, biscuits or delicate cookies, you want lower protein. Traditionally, the Southern flours, such as White Lily, were made with a wheat that had less protein.